CREDO Action

Tell Congress: End tax breaks for private prisons.

Sign the petition

The petition to Congress reads:

"Pass the Ending Tax Breaks for Private Prisons Act to amend the Internal Revenue Code to exclude private prison companies from dodging taxes by structuring as REITs."

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    Tell Congress: End tax breaks for private prisons.

    It is as simple as this: No tax breaks for Trump's private prison pals.

    The Trump administration sends taxpayer dollars to private prison companies that lock up thousands of immigrants, including mothers and children, in substandard, inhumane conditions. These companies are making millions of dollars even as reports of abuse, violence, unhygienic conditions, lack of health care, and rape and sexual abuse are rampant in detention centers all over the country.1,2

    Most of these prison companies are structured as real estate investment trusts (REITs), which allows them to pay taxes at the individual – not corporate – rate.3 It's bad enough that taxpayer dollars allow private prisons to profit off human rights abuses. They shouldn't get a tax break, too.

    Tell Congress: End tax breaks for private prisons.

    Sen. Ron Wyden just introduced legislation to bar private prison companies like CoreCivic and GeoGroup from dodging taxes by incorporating as REITs. It would force them to pay the corporate rate and strike yet another blow against their unconscionable business model.4 That is why we are standing with our friends at DailyKos, Color Of Change, BYP100, Mijente, Americans for Tax Fairness and the Franciscan Action Network to demand that Congress act on this legislation immediately.

    More than 60% of incarcerated immigrants are held in private prisons built by GEO Group and CoreCivic.5 These corporations are set up as REITs, not as regular corporations, in order to pay lower taxes and rack up even bigger profits. Private prison companies are increasingly planning to build prisons and then lease them to governments as activists fight for bans on corporations operating private prisons.6 Stripping these companies of their "real estate" tax dodge strikes at the heart of that plan.

    To maximize profits, private prison companies advocate for increased incarcerations, unreasonably strict parole and release laws, harsh anti-migrant policies, and a mandatory minimum of immigrants held in detention in their facilities. For-profit prisons are also incentivized to advocate for laws that reduce the basic rights, benefits, and entitlements inmates receive while in prison. Already, our activism helped force Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and other big banks to stop financing private prisons, and now we have a major opportunity to stand in solidarity once again with the thousands detained in horrific private prisons.

    Tell Congress: End tax breaks for private prisons.

    Thank you for speaking out.


    1. Stef W. Knight, "How companies profit from immigrant detention," Axios, June 8, 2019.
    2. Martin W.G. King, "Migrants are being abused in US detention facilities. It has to stop." News & Observer, Aug. 24, 2018.
    3. Sen. Ron Wyden, "S. 1827: Ending Tax Breaks for Private Prisons Act," GovTrack, June 13, 2019.
    4. Ibid.
    5. James Peltz, "Wells Fargo launches ad campaign to leave accounts scandal behind. Not everyone is buying it," Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2018.
    6. Bryce Covert, "How Private Prison Companies Could Get Around a Federal Ban," The American Prospect, June 28, 2019.